21st Aug 2011 SUN
Contributed by: Benedict Ow (Hong Kong)
What Dignity Means
One of my friends attending church on Hong Kong Island side related this story to me. There was this old man who was the director & conductor of a church’s choir. When he was in his prime time he was well-respected by his church members as well as the christian community.
However, after he got the Parkinson disease when he’s old, he could no longer lead and conduct the choir at church. His body became very rigid because of his illness and could not even bend. His family members somehow just refused to place him on a wheelchair. Apparently that his family took a lot of pride of him who had been a very respectable music conductor; and hence should not be seen on a wheelchair.
Each week the hired maid (caretaker) were to push this ex-conductor’s rigid body into the church hall with great effort. As he stands as straight as a piece of trunk leaning back against his maid. The small size maid has to push him upright manner across the floor like moving a fridge, to his seat along one of the rolls.
My friend felt sad for this ex-conductor. He should have received much more dignified way of treatment sitting gracefully on a wheelchair instead of being pushed around like a piece of furniture. All eyes are on him whenever he’s been pushed into the church hall.
But sometimes people do not get the right idea of what’s dignity means to them. In WW II, US president Roosevelt was confined to wheelchair but that didn’t make him a less dignified person. Roosevelt was still active on political scene and successfully bring the Allied forces to victory with his leadership.
The essence of things is one should be given the right level of respect as a human being without being pushed around like a piece of thing. Whether he’s sitting down or walking tall is immaterial so long as he is given the right level of respect – keeping in steps in life and, that’s what Dignity means to all of us.